Sask. education minister defends lack of school mask mandate, despite medical concerns

Dorothy S. Bass

Saskatchwean Minister of Education Dustin Duncan suggests the provincial federal government will carry on to depart the selection on no matter whether to mandate masks to unique faculty divisions.

On Monday, Duncan spoke with CBC Radio’s The Morning Edition about the province’s designs for masks in schools as the day for the return to course attracts closer.

Even though the province is recommending that young children beneath 12, unvaccinated staff members and folks in popular areas like school buses use masks, it is halting quick of a mask mandate.

Duncan claimed university divisions will have to get each and every predicament into account, specially when there are only a few learners in a class.

“There may well be circumstances where by it could be appropriate exactly where learners wouldn’t have to wear masks in all conditions,” stated Duncan.

“There may well be scenarios exactly where it could be proper for pupils, for illustration, to be capable to consider their masks off even though they’re sitting down at their desks.”

LISTEN | Minister of Schooling Dustin Duncan spoke with Stefani Langenegger on the Morning Edition 

10:32Sask. instruction minister defends govt choice not to involve masks, even with doctors’ suggestions

Last 7 days – we listened to from an infectious diseases health care provider that the Delta variant is a game-changer this drop with young ones heading again to schools. He suggests not acquiring obligatory actions in position from the province for schools could be “lethal”. We ask Education Minister Dustin Duncan for his reaction to that – and how he thinks faculties should retain pupils secure . 10:32

In a back again-to-school setting up doc written by Saskatchewan’s clinical health and fitness officers and despatched to provincial school divisions on Aug. 13, general public well being strongly encouraged mask use for personnel, pupils and visitors.

“For indoor situations these types of as gym classes, choir and band observe, we recommend that where by possible and simple, mask use be promoted,” the document mentioned.

“Irrespective of immunization position, all persons are encouraged to dress in masks as the possibility of ailment acquisition and transmission remains.”

Duncan termed the organizing guide a ‘technical draft document’ and mentioned it was intended to propose recommendations, which could then be tailored to the area amount by faculty divisions.

Previous week, the head of the Saskatchewan Medical Association stated he was ‘very nervous’ about the province’s method, primarily thinking about the expanding quantity of COVID-19 scenarios in the province.

Duncan said rules really should eventually be dictated dependent on nearby situation.

“As an instance, 10 for every cent of our our classes past calendar year had a lot less than 10 learners,” stated Duncan. 

“Where by college students can manage social length, then it could be proper for college students in all those circumstances to choose their masks off. That’s not going to be the scenario in all predicaments.”

Though not all university divisions have released their guidelines for the new college yr, distinctive divisions have taken really various techniques.

For case in point, each college divisions in Moose Jaw have declared most COVID-19 constraints will no longer be in spot, such as necessary masking. On the other hand, Regina Community Educational institutions announced on Monday that masks should be worn by youngsters and employees in elementary faculties as well as readers to the college, and strongly suggests higher faculty students mask as properly.

Minister Duncan explained he’s self-assured college divisions will act appropriately.

“I am hunting ahead to my son heading back to college,” he explained.

“We will observe the policies that are that are heading to be place in location by our college and by our university division, simply because I know that they will be performing with their community healthcare well being officer to make that selection.” 

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